Help Please - Is My Brew going wrong!

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mattmoody_uk

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Hi all

hope you are all well?

I've jst got started with home brewing (based in UK) and am quite excited about brewing my own beer.

I have a problem however - not sure things are going to plan!

Situation so far:-

Beer in a fermenting barrel and has been for nearly four weeks but isn't reaching 1.0 on the hydrometer that I have....

Is this normal? When should I be putting it in my other barrel? I check every day and its gradually edging up but has only got to .90 won't go any higher!

please help - have I killed 40 pints on beer!

thanks
Matthew
 

BierMuncher

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mattmoody_uk said:
Hi all

hope you are all well?

I've jst got started with home brewing (based in UK) and am quite excited about brewing my own beer.

I have a problem however - not sure things are going to plan!

Situation so far:-

Beer in a fermenting barrel and has been for nearly four weeks but isn't reaching 1.0 on the hydrometer that I have....

Is this normal? When should I be putting it in my other barrel? I check every day and its gradually edging up but has only got to .90 won't go any higher!

please help - have I killed 40 pints on beer!

thanks
Matthew
Matthew, 1st and foremost...relax. :mug:

Did you take a hydrometer reading at the time you added the yeast? If so, that is your "Original Gravity" (OG).

The reading you take when you "think" your brew is finished is your Final Gravity.

There is no magic single number on your hydrometer to "go for", but the difference between where you started and where you finish.

If your hydrometer reading has not changed in 2 or 3 days, your beer is finished fermenting. (Four weeks is more than enough time...7-10 days is pretty typical.)

If you didn't take a reading when you added your yeast...no harm done. Go ahead and confirm that your hydrometer reading is steady and move to a secondary fermenter fro a week and bottle it.

It will be fine. :D
 

loopmd

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1.0 reading on the hydrometer would be pure water, so I hope that's not what you are shooting for!

You might not be reading it properly, or it's not callibrated. Was there a target gravity for your brew? Usually it is a ballpark figure being off by a few "points".


loop
 

EdWort

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Look at your hydrometer again. Did your recipe have an ending gravity?

My beers finish out at 1.010 to 1.016 and some beers have even a higher FG.

I'd rack it to the secondary right away as 4 weeks is a bit long to leave it on that pile of trub.
 

kornkob

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Maybe I missed it but...

Did anyone ask if active fermentation ever started? Did a krausen form?

Maybe I'm confused by the '.9' reference. Wouldn't that be a fluid that is thinner than water? Shouldn't beer readings always be 1.XXX at a hydrometer's calibrated temp?
 

Bobby_M

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Totally unrelated to this fella's issue, but because alcohol is less dense than water, a fully fermented beer at 1.0 could happen. I'm sure a highly fermentable wort could get there.
 

joshpooh

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I'm confused by the fact that it looks like I am reading that the specific gravity is going up. I'm thinking the hydrometer is off. Even though it is possible for a beer to get to 1.0 if the wort is highly fermentable, or even lower I guess it doesn't seem likely.
 

david_42

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I've never seen a beer below 1.006, but if you made a sugar kit, it would be possible. I've had ciders and meads go down to 0.990 and my Brix hydrometer goes to -5.0, which would be about .980, wines maybe?
 

gruntingfrog

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Nobody has asked the most significant question. What temperature is the beer? Most hydrometers are calibrated to 15c (55 degrees F). You have to adjust the reading if the temperature is higher or lower than that. Here's the hydrometer correction information from John Palmer's website (By the way, if you haven't read either his book or website from start to finish you need to.)http://www.howtobrew.com/appendices/appendixA.html

No matter what, move it to secondary (since it sounds like you're using your bottling bucket as primary), wait a week for it to settle again then bottle.

I think you'll find that your beer is fine. :D
 
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mattmoody_uk

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Hi all

many thanks for your kind advice and comments - seems like not all hope is lost!

Will attempt to move the beer this evening and report back if problems.

Bit more info:
Hmm - did I take a hydrometer reading when I put it in the bucket - er no.

What readings was I going off - er, the ones that came with the hydrometer.

What kit was it - it was a kit that came in a can with the wort and yeast and I added sugar to it (although I'll admit it wasn't proper brewing sugar so may'be thats an issue too!)

Oh well, will get it moved over to my other barrel - do you reckon leave a week then rebottle or can I just leave it in my secondary barrel - it has a compression fitting and tap at the bottom?

thanks
Matthew
 
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Matt, you may be reading the wrong scale on the hydrometer. The scale you should be reading is "specific gravity," and it should go from numbers close to 1.100 at the bottom (closest to the bulb) to numbers at or less than 1.000 at the top (farthest from the bulb). Also, your hydrometer is calibrated to be accurate at a single temperature (likely, 60 degrees F). There is a correction factor to apply if your sample is warmer or colder.

As your beer ferments, the hydrometer reading of a sample should decrease. A typical beer will have an original (starting) gravity of around 1.060 and a final gravity of around 1.010. A final gravity of 1.000 or less is possible with very high alcohol content beers, but that is usually not the goal.

Most beers are safe to bottle in the 1.010-1.020 range. The sure way to tell if it's safe to bottle is by taking a hydrometer sample once a day for three days. If the reading remains unchanged over those three days, your beer has finished fermentation and is ready to bottle.

If all this talk of hydrometers is still confusing, have someone more experienced (perhaps a homebrew shop owner) show you how to read your hydrometer. You can also use the alternate method of checking for complete fermentation - no bubbling in the airlock. No bubbles = no fermentation, and you can bottle.

Clear as mud?
 

ayrton

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The water in this picture has a gravity of 1.012, if that helps you read it any better. Keep in mind that there are several scales on the hydrometer, and as was mentioned already, you want specific gravity.

A hydrometer measures the density of your water. When you first put the wort in the fermenter, fill up a hydrometer tube and drop it in there. It will probably be between 1.040 and 1.070. This means that the liquid in the hydrometer tube is *more* dense than water due to the sugar content.

When your beer ferments, sugar is replaced with alcohol, which is less dense than water. Therefore, the specific gravity drops. How much it drops is determined by how much sugar is converted to alcohol by the yeast. Very few beers will ever reach 1.000 (and if they do, they'll likely taste like ass). Someone said a final gravity that is between 1.012 and 1.020 is right on, and that's where every single one of my beers has landed.
 

ayrton

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BierMuncher said:
Since we're showing off our tools.... :D

This was a post boil Kolsch at 1.058.

My final gravity ended at 1.015.

Resulting ABV = 5.6%.

View attachment 1284
Whoa, that wasn't my hydrometer. I found that at a scientific web site from a Google search. Yours is a much better pic.
 

BierMuncher

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ayrton said:
Whoa, that wasn't my hydrometer. I found that at a scientific web site from a Google search. Yours is a much better pic.
Good thing.

I thought for a minute there you were brewing.......water. :cross:


Not that there's anything wrong with that.... :D
 
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